In therapy sessions, I often hear clients speak about how others make them feel and how outraged or upset they are by this. Others, may be, their partners, children, family members, friends, colleagues or managers.
We seem to have this idea that others have control over our emotions and that others can make us feel in certain ways. Actually, we have absolute control over our emotions and we can choose whether we allow others to make us feel a certain way or not. You can either choose to allow other people’s behaviour to affect you or choose to let it go.
Letting it go comes with the idea that we are then condoning the other person’s behaviour. This is not true and serves to keep us in the emotional trap. We are letting go for ourselves and not the other person. We are choosing to not allow the other person’s behaviour to affect our emotions. This shifts the power back to us.
The realisation of us being in control of our emotions tends to be very useful in us being calmer and not letting our emotions spill over. When we recognise that we have the power we are then able to choose what we allow to affect us and what we don’t.
Some tools to manage your emotions better:
- Change comes with awareness. Become aware of your bodily sensations which give us clues to how we are feeling. Help yourself through this. Breathe deeply if that helps or walk away. Slowly count to 10 and then establish if you are feeling the same, with the same amount of intensity.
- Practice, practice, practice. You are not meant to get it right all of the time. Being in control of your emotions means that you choose when you want to react and how, so that you are content that you managed the situation well.
- Become aware of the ‘trigger people’ in your life. Some people will affect our emotions much more than others. Become aware of who these people are for you. When you are in contact with these people be very aware of your emotions.
- Remember you are allowed to have a host of emotions and they are all important and needed. Allow yourself time and space to deal with each emotion you may experience.
- Finally, self-care will always steer you in the right direction. Practice self-care regularly.